By Linda Abraham, founder & president of Accepted
You’ve spent years trying to get the highest GPA possible, and hours upon hours in test prep classes striving to increase your MCAT scores. While certainly not the only factors schools will consider, these numbers are important data points in your and their decision-making process. Taking the time to compare your numbers with school data will help you make smarter decisions and apply more effectively.
Here are 5 tips to increase your chances of acceptance and save you lots of time and effort.
Tip #1: Check out the medical schools in your state first.
You’re more likely, statistically, to be accepted to a med school in a state where you’re a resident. Many med schools have special programs designed to serve communities that are thought of as medically underserved in their area. One example is UC Davis School of Medicine, which has a Rural PRIME Program for students from rural areas who want to return home to work as doctors. Your personal connection to the community and the amount of volunteer and clinical experience you have helping this particular group of people weigh heavily on your chances of being admitted to one of these programs. Consider these factors when deciding whether or not to apply to a program that may represent your community.
Tip #2: Pinpoint which out-of-state medical schools accept a higher percentage of out-of-state students.
Choose a percentage that you feel comfortable with. You may choose 40% of higher, to be on the safe side. By keeping this information in mind, you won’t choose schools where your chances are particularly low since you aren’t a state resident. This should help you narrow down your list significantly.
Tip #3: Using this slimmed-down list, start comparing your scores.
If you have a strong application in all other areas, you can use your MCAT and GPA to whittle down the number of schools you are applying to. Choose schools where your scores match both or either their GPA or MCAT average. If you fall out high above a school’s GPA average, but are just below their MCAT average (or vice versa) – and you are really interested on applying to the school – you can include it on your list.
Tip #4: Take your new list and start assessing it based on your personal interests.
These interests can include such things as ethnicity, financial aid, graduate degrees, curriculum, or combined programs and research prospects. If your ethnicity is underrepresented at a school, you may have a better chance of admission since you will increase the diversity in the program. How much financial aid a program gives out is generally another important factor; some schools have a lot of private funding and scholarships available, while others have much less. Examining schools in terms of their specialties and how they can support your career goals is an important long-term consideration. Remember that at the beginning of the application phase, you have the control over which schools will consider you.
Tip #5: Be sure that you meet all of the prerequisite requirements for each school to improve your list even further.
This is an important step to take. You can be disqualified from consideration if you’re missing even one class. Applying to med school is an arduous and expensive process. Save yourself time and money by not applying to schools for which you don’t meet their basic requirements. If a school requires a committee letter and you don’t have one, cross that school off of your list.
By Linda Abraham, founder & president of Accepted, the premier admissions consultancy. Accepted helps applicants like you apply successfully and confidently — bringing out strengths and mitigating weaknesses. We’ve been in your shoes as applicants, but more importantly, over the last 20 years our staff of experienced consultants and former admissions directors has advised thousands of applicants just like you to acceptance to MD & DO schools around the country. Get Accepted.
You’ve chosen your target programs…now it’s time to make the adcoms at those schools fall madly in love with your candidacy. Be sure to attend our upcoming webinar, 5 Ways to Make Med Schools Love You, on November 15th at 5pm PT when Accepted’s Linda Abraham will be sharing her insights on the process. Register for the webinar here.